After his first game as head coach, a 96-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Lue let the media and his team know that the kind of performance they gave would not be enough to satisfy him, much less make a push back to the NBA Finals.
Lue’s chief concern after the game was about the Cavs conditioning, not believing the players have what it takes to play uptempo style of basketball.
“I don’t think we’re in good enough shape,” Lue said. “I think early, we wanted to push it, we wanted to open the floor, and I think we came out and did that, and then I think we just dropped off the map. I think we got tired.”
“I don’t think we’re in good enough shape,” Lue continued. “I think early, we wanted to push it, we wanted to open the floor, and I think we came out and did that, and then I think we just dropped off the map. I think we got tired.”
Lue even went so far to call out the stars on the team, stating that Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and even LeBron James for not being conditioned well enough to play the uptempo style of basketball that Lue expects of his team. Lue called out all 3 of those players for asking for early substitutions, throwing off the young coaches plan for their rotation, inhibiting his gameplan.
LeBron James responded to his new coaches criticism with agreement, “Yup, we got to get in better shape,” he said. “Coach wanted to play faster, so we need to start doing stuff on off days, doing stuff at practice, during shootarounds, getting up and down the floor, getting our heart rate going, because he wants to play faster, play with more pace than we’ve done in the past. Try to get up and down the court before the defense is set on us. So we all need to be in better shape.”
While the loss is certainly not the beginning to the Tyronn Lue era of coaching that the organization probably hoped for, already Lue appears to have done more, at least publicly, to hold his team accountable for their own performances.
Only time will tell how effective Lue’s style of coaching will be, but this looks like a sign of the sprk the organization was hoping for.